The Negative Effects of Multi-tasking

“Multitasking…the art of messing up several things at once.”

– Unknown

I could go on and on for days about the negative effects of multi-tasking and how it’s neither effective nor efficient. I could show you all of the statistics and research to back it up, all in an attempt to dissuade you from buying in to the multi-tasking trap.

Lucky for you, I’ll just share a few.


When you multi-task you make more mistakes. Multi-tasking causes you to shift your focus from one thing to another. Let’s say you’re reading your email, talking on the phone, and writing a memo, all at the same time (c’mon, admit it, you know you’ve done that!). You can’t possibly do all of these things well at the same time, which leads to more errors and more mistakes, and things end up taking longer.


Multi-tasking contributes to memory loss. Now I don’t know about you, but I have two children at home, and I need all the memory function I can get! Multi-tasking can lead to over-stimulation of your brain function. So, if you’re intently working on a project or assignment, and you’re constantly interrupted by coworkers, phone calls, or customers, you risk forgetting details (big and small) required to effectively finish the task at hand.


Multi-tasking shows a lack of respect for the people in your life. When the people in your life think that you care more about your cell-phone, than being with them, that can damage your relationships both personally and professionally.


According to the Harvard Business Review, focusing on more than one thing decreases your productivity by 40% and lowers your IQ by 10 points.  Again, I need all the IQ points I can muster!

I understand that it’s not realistic to say no to multi-tasking 100% of the time.  What I’m advocating for is that you uni-task, or focus on one thing at a time, when it really counts.   Strategic thinking, one-on-one conversations, visioning, goal setting to name a few, are all activities that require your undivided attention. So give it to them.


**How does multi-tasking support me in my daily activities?

**What negative impact does multi-tasking have on my life/my work/my self?

**What positive impact does multi-tasking have on my life/my work/my self?


The Pomodoro Technique. The next time you have a project, set your time for 30 minutes. Shut your door (if you don’t have a door, hang a Do Not Disturb sign on the side of your cubicle), turn off your email chime, cell phone, and tablets. And, for the next 30 minutes focus only on the task at hand. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, take a 5 minute break.

Have an amazing week and enjoy your learnings!


P.S. If you enjoy what you read here today, and your ready to take back control of your time…to maximize your time rather than simply managing it, check out my special publication @

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